Untreated Cavities Among Children is Becoming a Public Health Concern

The CDC reported that more than 19% of children aged 2 to 19 have untreated cavities. As you well know, this type of dental disease causes pain, difficulty eating, and a decreased quality of life. They also cause hours lost at school.

You have a chance to change this situation by working with two organizations that have partnered to provide an aggressive response to this serious issue. One such program is Every Child Has a Toothbrush. The International Federation of Dental Hygienists created this program through the sponsorship of Procter & Gamble and Premier.

Dental hygienists teach children how to use a toothbrush effectively to control biofilm and reduce the risk of tooth decay. This program gives small grants to dental hygienists, so they can conduct a community education intervention for children. They also provide toothbrushes for the initial and follow-up interventions.

The dental hygienist must document the following items:

  • How many children they examined
  • The findings of the clinical exam
  • What type of instruction on brushing teeth they provided
  • The findings of a 3-month follow-up which involves
    • Reexamination of the children
    • Reinforcement of tooth-brushing techniques

The other organization involved in improving children’s oral health is the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF). While this organization offers many programs, one of particular interest is the Smile Drive.

This program takes place in the US and Canada. It focuses on providing oral care products to at-risk children in the community. To take part, you hold a toothbrush/toothpaste drive at places in the community and then deliver the items to a local nonprofit shelter, organization, or program that serves children and teens in need on or before March 20—World Oral Health Day. You need to complete a brief survey to let the NCOHF know how many products you collected and where you delivered them.

You can make a strong difference in the lives of children and teens by donating your time to these programs and know that you are making a difference in your community.